HARRISON TOWNSHIP – LPGA star Paula Creamer’s father and her father in law were Navy pilots, her cousin is an active duty Marine and her husband Derek Heath is a C-17 Air Force pilot.
And the Paula Creamer Foundation she established naturally helps families of veterans in need.
She said she jumped at the chance to play in the Selfridge Valor Cup Military Pro-Am Monday on the golf course at Selfridge Air National Guard Base. A field of 60 female veterans paired up with 16 LPGA professionals in the scramble event sponsored by the Eisenhower Center to bring awareness to the health needs of female military veterans.
“The military has always been very important to me and I think these are the real heroes in our world,” said Creamer, who like the other LPGA players at Selfridge is part for the field Thursday throughSunday at the LPGA Volvik Championship at Travis Pointe Country Club in Ann Arbor.
“I think it is so important to make people aware that these female veterans are still fighting, and this event raises that awareness. I really feel helping military families is the least I can do, and it’s so great that I have a platform like golf that we can use to help.”
Col. Patricia Sellers, retired from the U.S. Army after 28 years of service, played in the group with Creamer and said it was fantastic.
“Having the LPGA players come to help raise awareness for veterans in the area – phenomenal,” she said. “And Paula was so gracious and patient, and with her coming from such a strong military family she fit right in with us and was so great about supporting us. It was a tremendous day.”
Sellers said the work the Eisenhower Center does with veterans is so important, and she is elated that there is plans for an Eisenhower facility on Selfridge.
“PTSD doesn’t discriminate,” she said. “It doesn’t matter who you are, doesn’t matter what rank you are, what gender you are. Things happen to all people, and soldiers, men and women. It’s wonderful there is an event to raise awareness, places where they can get help and athletes like Paula Creamer who care.”
Lisa Martin, a 21-year veteran of the Air Force who is retired from the service and works with the Veterans Administration, also played in Creamer’s group. She said the pro was inspiring.
“She is focused on veterans and that is inspiring, and you could tell when we watched the A-10s take off, she just stopped and watched like all of us, in awe,” she said. “It’s so wonderful she uses her talents to help veterans and that she cared so much about this.”
Creamer said the event was unique and wonderful.
“I’ve never done anything quite like this,” she said. “This one was different, just us out there with the veterans. To see just all women playing, that was special to me. Hearing the stories, and learning what it’s like to be a female veteran. It was remarkable. I hope we raised the awareness so these veterans can get what they need, support, funding, whatever it may be.”
The Eisenhower Center, based in Ann Arbor, is one of the nation’s leading treatment centers for Post- Traumatic Stress Disorder and Traumatic Brain Injury, and developed the landmark “After The Impact” program that helps veterans, first responders and NFL players.
John Cornack, president of Eisenhower Center, said the day was just as he envisioned.
“The female veterans and the LPGA players got the most out of it together, and that was the hope,” he said. “What I saw and what happened made it the most beautiful day I’ve had in a long time.”